Before you begin reading please take a moment to say a prayer for the individuals and families that perished in the flash flood in Arkansas early this morning.
Another Storm last night and this morning, I decided to go back to the Carriage Road on the off chance the Fawn is still there. Unfortunately an NPS truck pulls up as I arrived scaring off a Squirrel and a Male Cardinal. I head up the first incline of of the Dead Chief Trail, arriving behind me is a women with an IPOD yelling into a cell phone and at the guy she is with. I decide to cut across to the Peak Trail for some peace.
A light fog is descending on the trail as I climb higher onto Hot Springs Mountain. The green is lush from the rains that have fallen the past 2 days and looks bright in the foggy twilight. I enjoy the bird song on my journey to the top of the Peak Trail. A symphony for my sojourn.
I head across the picnic area and connect with the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. A light fog is traveling along trail and sadly the NPS has cut back some of my favorite vines and limbs. I miss the cradling effect of hiking through tunnels of growth, but I understand that average hiker might find it annoying. Lovely fungi are decorating the trail sides like pretty little flowers.
Nearing the trail head I look down at what looks like a snake shaped stick. On closer examination I see it is a small snake about a foot long, sadly it appears to be dead. I decide to move it off the trail so it won’t get crushed by hikers and joggers. As I begin to shift it, it moves, I am so happy! This lovely creature is a Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus ssp.) It is a gentle creature which I can see would rather move away than fight.
From the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I hike up the Hot Springs Mountain Road to the Upper Dogwood Trail. I have a lovely hike in the peaceful green paradise. In the distance I can hear huffing and grunting and wonder what is just out of sight in the Forest.
I connect with the Lower Dogwood Trail and then the Floral Trail. Lovely Yellow fungi dot the trail edges, I am always amazed at how strong they are pushing up through the rocks and leaves. At the trail head the normally near dry creek is full, the water rushing over the rocks creating a lovely sound. A lovely song to end my hike.
Please get out and play in Nature this weekend!